Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link Skip directly to A-Z link Skip directly to A-Z link
Volume 19, Number 7—July 2013

Bulleidia extructa Periprosthetic Hip Joint Infection, United States

On This Page
Article Metrics
citations of this article
EID Journal Metrics on Scopus

Cite This Article

To the Editor: Bulleidia extructa is an obligately anaerobic, nonmotile, non–spore-forming gram-positive bacillus first described in 2000 by Downes et al. (1), after having isolated a bacterium from the oral cavity of persons with periodontitis and dentoalveolar abscesses that did not correspond to any known species. After phenotypic and genetic characterization, the investigators proposed a new genus, Bulleidia, and the species B. extructa. Since then, additional reports have associated the organism with oral infections, specifically periodontal disease (25). While B. extructa’s association with human periodontal disease is well documented, the bacterium has so far not been implicated in other pathogenic processes. We report here a case of a total hip arthroplasty infection caused by B. extructa in an immunocompetent patient.

In November 2010, an 82-year-old man with a non-cemented right total hip arthroplasty that was performed 26 years previously was evaluated for right hip pain. He had been in his usual state of health without any complaints until a month earlier, when he lost his footing and hyperabducted his hip joints, involuntarily performing a split, while washing a boat cover with a power washer. Since then, he reported right hip pain that somewhat limited his mobility.

Physical examination revealed an antalgic gait, mild swelling of the right lower extremity, and impaired hip mobility related to pain on the right side, specifically with extension, flexion, abduction, and adduction. Results of the patient’s blood work were notable for normocytic anemia (hemoglobin 10.6 g/dL), thrombocytosis (459 × 109/L), elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (101 mm/h), and elevated C-reactive protein (88.7 mg/L). Leukocyte count was within normal limits (9.6 × 109 cells/L). An ultrasound examination of the right hip joint showed extensive synovitis and a large, 4.3 × 5.0 × 5.1–cm vascular mass extending anteriorly from the joint space. Aspiration of the joint space yielded 1 mL of blood-stained fluid with 111,595 cells/µL (95% neutrophils, 5% monocytes/ macrophages). Anaerobic bacterial culture grew a gram-positive bacillus identified as B. extructa by partial 16S rRNA sequencing. DNA was prepared for PCR amplification by using PrepMan Ultra (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA) and amplified and bidirectionally sequenced by using primers 5′-TGGAGAGTTTGATCCTGGCTCAG-3′ and 5′-TACCGCGGCTGCTGGCAC-3′. The generated 484-bp sequence differed by 2 bp from 483 bp of available sequence from B. extructa GenBank accession no. AF220064. The isolate was susceptible to penicillin, clindamycin, and metronidazole by using E-test.

The patient underwent total hip arthroplasty resection. Intraoperatively, purulence was noted upon entering the hip joint. Histopathologic examination of removed tissue revealed acute inflammation. Five hip tissue specimens were obtained for culture; 3 specimens yielded B. extructa. Six weeks of intravenous ceftriaxone treatment was prescribed, and the patient was instructed to revisit a dentist for a full dental examination. Before seeking treatment for this episode, he reported that he was seeing a dentist on a regular basis and denied any recent dental surgery or infections.

The patient was seen in a follow-up visit 2 months after reimplantation surgery; at that time, he reported minimal pain and had begun to bear weight on the affected side. There was no evidence for infection recurrence.

Periprosthetic joint infections are a major complication after joint replacement. The number of procedures for total hip and knee replacements has increased during the past 13 years (6). This trend is accompanied by an increase in the total number of periprosthetic joint infections, even though the overall percentage of this complication is low (7). The most commonly isolated organisms in periprosthetic joint infections are gram-positive cocci, specifically Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis (8). In a retrospective review, Moran et al. (9) examined the microbiological spectrum of 112 patients undergoing debridement and irrigation for a periprosthetic joint infection (hip [52], knee [51], elbow [4], ankle [3], shoulder [2]) at a tertiary care center in the United Kingdom during 1998–2003. The most frequently isolated microorganisms were coagulase-negative staphylococci (47%) followed by methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (44%), methicillin-resistant S. aureus (8%), aerobic gram-negative organisms (8%), and anaerobes (7%). Thirty-seven percent of patient specimens grew multiple microorganisms.

We document the ability of B. extructa to cause an infection beyond its usual habitat, the oral flora. We hypothesize that the infection in this patient might have developed from hematogenous seeding in which an undiscovered and asymptomatic oral infectious nidus might have served as the seeding focus while mild trauma to the hip could have facilitated access to the joint space.



The authors thank Daniel R. Gustafson and the outstanding staff of the Mayo Clinic anaerobic bacteriology laboratory for identification of this patient’s bacterium.

Support was provided solely from institutional and departmental sources (Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN).

Dr Patel receives research support as a principal investigator from Pfizer, Pradama, Tornier, Pocared, and Astellas. She also owns patents on a method and apparatus for device sonication (but has relinquished her rights to receive royalties), an anti-biofilm substance, and Bordetella pertussis/parapertussis PCR.


Benjamin Kloesel, Margaret Beliveau, Robin Patel, Robert T. Trousdale, and Irene G. SiaComments to Author 
Author affiliations: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA



  1. Downes  J, Olsvik  B, Hiom  SJ, Spratt  DA, Cheeseman  SL, Olsen  I, Bulleidia extructa gen. nov., sp. nov., isolated from the oral cavity. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2000;50:97983. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Booth  V, Downes  J, Van den Berg  J, Wade  WG. Gram-positive anaerobic bacilli in human periodontal disease. J Periodontal Res. 2004;39:21320 . DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Downes  J, Munson  MA, Spratt  DA, Kononen  E, Tarkka  E, Jousimies-Somer  H, Characterisation of Eubacterium-like strains isolated from oral infections. J Med Microbiol. 2001;50:94751 .PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Robertson  D, Smith  AJ. The microbiology of the acute dental abscess. J Med Microbiol. 2009;58:15562 . DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Paster  BJ, Russell  MK, Alpagot  T, Lee  AM, Boches  SK, Galvin  JL, Bacterial diversity in necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis in HIV-positive subjects. Ann Periodontol. 2002;7:816. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Singh  JA. Epidemiology of knee and hip arthroplasty: a systematic review. Open Orthop J. 2011;5:80–5.
  7. Kurtz  SM, Lau  E, Watson  H, Schmier  JK, Parvizi  J. Economic burden of periprosthetic joint infection in the United States. J Arthroplasty. 2012;27(Suppl):615 . DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Pulido  L, Ghanem  E, Joshi  A, Purtill  JJ, Parvizi  J. Periprosthetic joint infection: the incidence, timing, and predisposing factors. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008;466:17105. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Moran  E, Masters  S, Berendt  AR, McLardy-Smith  P, Byren  I, Atkins  BL. Guiding empirical antibiotic therapy in orthopaedics: the microbiology of prosthetic joint infection managed by debridement, irrigation and prosthesis retention. J Infect. 2007;55:17. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar


Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid1907.130078

Related Links


Table of Contents – Volume 19, Number 7—July 2013

EID Search Options
presentation_01 Advanced Article Search – Search articles by author and/or keyword.
presentation_01 Articles by Country Search – Search articles by the topic country.
presentation_01 Article Type Search – Search articles by article type and issue.



Please use the form below to submit correspondence to the authors or contact them at the following address:

Irene G. Sia, Division of Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55904, USA

Send To

10000 character(s) remaining.


Page created: June 19, 2013
Page updated: June 19, 2013
Page reviewed: June 19, 2013
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.